Andy Sanborn’s New Hampshire Gambling License Suspended Amid Fraud Investigation
Andy Sanborn, owner of various New Hampshire casinos, has had his gaming license suspended for six months by the New Hampshire Lottery Commission.
The former state senator, along with his wife, state Rep. Laurie Sanborn, is accused of misusing a federal COVID relief loan and fraudulently arranging his casino’s accounts to cover it up.
According to a Department of Safety ruling last week, Sanborn will now also have to sell the Concord Casino in Concord, New Hampshire. The fate of his second under-construction venue in the town is now also up in the air.
If a buyer is not found in six months’ time, the Concord Casino’s own license, and a separate New Hampshire charitable gaming authorization, will be suspended for two years.
The embattled former politician, who has been absent from any hearings on the issue, as he is undergoing medical treatment, was previously given an eight-week extension on the judgement, which has now passed.
The Allegations and Immediate Fallout
The New Hampshire Department of Safety’s recent decision reflects allegations the Sanborns misappropriated $844K of federal COVID relief funds, purportedly spending it on luxury items, including a Ferrari and two Porsche race cars.
Further compounding the issue, they reportedly failed to disclose their business was running casinos, which would have it excluded it from COVID relief.
Michael King, the Department of Safety hearing officer, released a nine-page decision detailing the need for the sale and closure of the casino.
While not directly ruling on the fraudulent nature of the loan application statements, there was “clear false and/or misleading information,” King concluded.
Sanborn also stands accused of fixing the Concord’s rent in order to obfuscate the channeling of business relief money to his own accounts.
The investigation says Sanborn used two other companies he owned to purchase the land under the Concord, and then raise his own rent. The alleged profits total $185,300.
Sanborn claims he raised the rent because he expanded the casino. However, while the venue expanded, the New Hampshire Attorney General noted that floor space increased by 650%, while rent payments had gone up 4000%.
Sanborn is also alleged to have paid himself $28,000 for consultancy fees while drafting the proposal for his second Concord casino.
“For all or any of the preceding reasons, Concord Casino’s games of chance facility license and game operator employer license should be revoked for good cause shown,” the AG’s investigation said.
The Response and Future of Concord Casino
The Concord Casino, located inside The Draft Sports Bar and Grill in Concord, now faces an uncertain future.
Sanborn, who has been undergoing medical treatment and absent from many recent proceedings, has not yet commented on the ruling.
His attorney, Mark Knights, has previously criticized the Lottery Commission’s understanding of the relief payments and the government’s allegations.
Knights contended during December’s hearing that the evidence presented had “yawning gaps” and did not fully capture the context of the relief fund’s usage.
Sanborn has been directed to sell the casino, and any new buyer must receive approval from the New Hampshire Lottery Commission before the sale is finalized. The closure and sale order also cast doubt on the prospects of a second charitable casino the Sanborns were in the process of opening elsewhere in Concord.
The ruling allows Sanborn to appeal King’s decision within 15 days by filing a request with the Lottery Commission. Neither Sanborn or his lawyers have commented to the media in several weeks.
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